CIPD NAP 14 – Do you need to get out of your own way??

First session for me at the CIPD Northern Area Partnership Event with Lynda Holt, Director of Way Ahead is going to talk to us about whether we need to get out of our own way.  My own coaching practice is grounded in unblocking and unlocking people from the limiting beliefs they hold that get in their way so I’m really interested to hear what Lynda’s perspective is on how we stop ourselves being amazing!

Lynda starts by helping the audience notice that we can all be our own worst enemies.  We spend so much time at work – for ourselves or our our employer – that we need to make this time a ferocious adventure to avoid it becoming ‘same old, same old’.

Challenges make life interesting – they can also be scary, overwhelming, exhausting even.  But if they’re not that then we’re just existing, not living.

As human beings we all have fabulous ideas but we don’t always make them happen because our brain’s say ‘what I did yesterday kept me alive, so better do the same again tomorrow’ – and that’s our brain’s job to keep us alive!

Lynda has a belief that everyone has a unique purpose in life – none are better or worse than any other – the main thing is that it’s an important purpose for us.

Lynda has some myths to dispel –

1. Business leaders / owners succeed or fail – nope – we mostly settle and stay on our comfort zone and try and maintain that position.

2. If you are the best at your craft you’ll succeed – rubbish! – engaging clients and then selling (your products/services, yourself, your new policy!) will make you succeed.

3. I don’t have enough time / money. I’m not as well known / lucky – rubbish again! – it’s our brain deceiving us to keep us safe.  Daniel Goleman – “Man as an infinite capacity for self deception”.

Lynda knew her purpose – to help people shine brighter – when she was a young girl.  But then she got carried along on the treadmill of life – university, job……get married, have a child.  The final straw was that someone burnt some toast at the hospital and she got called in because they had to have a senior member of team on site to turn the fire alarm off.  Crazy bureaucracy!  Missing her child growing up. So she resigned.  And started doing what matters to her, what she cares about – her purpose.

So what excuses are you making for yourself?

Lynda’s KNOTS model –

Know what needs to be done but never quite get round to it.

Not enough money, not the right clients and always chasing work

Overwhelm, the running of your business and the enormity of your task has you paralyzed, simple jobs become huge tasks – this drains emotional energy and makes you feel…..

Tired and lack the passion and commitment to the business you once loved

Secretly you believe you should be doing better

Recognise any of this? How does this relate to your excuses you make to yourself?  Is there one or more that you recognise more than others?

Lynda believes there are only 2 reasons we get to this place –

LACK OF CLARITY about what matters and FEAR.

LACK OF CLARITY – as a baby we know exactly what we need – food, safety, love, to learn. And babies tell us – at 2 am!!  As we get older we can lose that clarity, chasing the wrong milestones – ‘I need to earn to pay the mortgage’.  If your house was burning, with nobody inside – are you clear on what you would save?  If not, the house will burn down around you while you figure out what to rescue.  What about with your life?  Are you absolutely clear about what matters to you?  What do you stand for?  What are you about?  What is it that happens when you believe someone’s over-stepped the line for you?  What triggers you into not being at your best?  Sometimes we need to track this right back to the source as we sometimes hide these things deep down.  And our discomfort comes from a mismatch between what’s going on in your life and what you really believe in; what you really care about.

Even once you’ve got ‘what’ matters to you.  Go deeper to ask ‘but why’.  And ask ‘why’ again.  Ask yourself ‘why’ 5 times to really get to the depths of what matters to you.  These are your values.

Once you’ve got there – raise your expectations and make a stand!

FEAR – it reduces creativity, it impairs decision making, it reduces flexibility – and millions of people are affected by it.  What are you scared of?  Don’t forget the things you don’t even like to admit to yourself.  Research in the 50’s shows that, even from early childhood, there’s an even split between those who are driven by fear of failure and those who are driven by achievement and success.  People like Richard Branson and Donald Trump are motivated by a fear of failure.  The directors of big orgs tend to be those who are motivated by achieving and who, now they’ve got there, can settle in a groove.

We have basic needs that drive our fears – we want to feel safe, loved, part of a pack.

Top fears of very successful entrepreneurs – not bright enough, not pushy enough, not as good as their competition, not enough money to start, preconceived idea of failure.

And remember if you try and say positive things, when really you’re afraid, others’ brains will notice this, won’t feel safe and will stop them connecting with you.

Have you seen a failure spiral before?  I’ll get a picture in here….. but we convince ourselves we’re not good enough, not going to succeed – we imagine it going wrong – we plan for that ‘oh it’ll be OK because….’ – we then project that negativity into the world – and guess what… comes true!!  Self fulfilling prophecy.

Think instead about times when you’ve felt amazing – you can do it.  Make that your reality you refer back to.

Lynda links all this through to 5 E’s –

Exclusivity – be clear about what matters to you and work to that, you’ll be at your best more

Expertise – not about lots of courses.  Sometimes we need to learn ‘stuff’ but most of what we need is within us – how we communicate and engage with others.  What do you have to offer to people you want to make a difference for?  What problem can you solve for them?

Exposure – how do you find those people you want to make a difference for/with – where do they hang out?  Is it networking – outside of HR events.

Engaging – connect with others and be useful to them before you try and ‘sell’ what you need them for

Everlasting – long-term constructive relationships with people who will pass in and out of your life, build the relationship so you become their go-to person

Maximise these E’s so the Excuses disappear and don’t get a look in.


1. Know your own values – really, really your’s. Not anyone else’s and not what you think they SHOULD be – and work by those

2. Accept responsibility for your fears – they’re your’s, you own them – you can do what you like with them.  Not necessarily easy but your’s to do something about

3. Do things that matter to you – can just be a little thing once a week

4. Mess up – even if you have a fear of failure, go for it because you’ll learn, you’ll realise nothing horrendous happens, and it’ll reduce your fear the next time.  But maybe don’t make mistakes on irreversible things like selling your house on a whim!  But give it a go.  Try new things. Rock the boat.  Turn negatives into positives and opportunities.

5. Take action – even if you’re scared stiff!!

Great session by Lynda.  And relaxed enough that the audience go involved as well as getting the chance for some self coaching.  Brilliant!


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